Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reflections on New Seasons

I believe October marks the10 year anniversary of my Great Trip Out West - my move to Seattle (which, for those of you who don't know, only lasted a couple of months). I was 19 years old, working as a full-time bank teller, not in school...and I found myself facing an interesting life transition, but felt incredibly directionless. My good friends and mentors Vicki and Rick suggested I take the opportunity to explore life outside of small-town Tennessee, and I jumped at it.

Three days, 10 states, and 2,500 miles later I arrived in Seattle and felt more out of place than I ever had in my entire life. What am I doing here??? No, seriously...What am I doing?
I had just made my first real-life grown-up decision: Moving away from home with little-to-no parental consent. My folks wanted to be supportive, but at the same time had reservations about my choice to leave. And who can blame them? I had no plans other than to secure a job (which almost didn't happen). Boy, what I would give to go back to the days of being fearless and not planning for my future...

But what I didn't realize at the time is that I WAS actually planning and preparing myself for my future. That single decision to move away from home for 2 months - as silly as it seems now - really shaped who I am today. It helped me spread my wings, and I learned some very valuable lessons about myself, my friends and my family by choosing to leave.

Lesson #1 - Each of us should explore life from a different point of view for an extended period of time. Get out of your bubble! Break your routine! Challenge yourself.
Lesson #2 - You can always come home again
Lesson #3 - The boy you're talking to is never worth it (and you know it)
Lesson #4 - There's no such thing as the right way or the wrong way - we're all just carving out our own unique paths
Lesson #5 - To everything there is a season...

...and here's where I start rambling about seasons...
I vividly recall sitting with Vicki and Rick and explaining that I needed to move back to Tennessee. I felt that my grand idea to move out west was a big giant failure. I had absolutely nothing to show for my time in Seattle (other than clothes from the Gap and a ton of knitting needles). I made no friends, I had no full-time job, no place to live, and most disappointing of all, I did NOT meet Dave Matthews! I didn't see a future in Seattle, and running back home seemed like the smart thing to do. After all, I had a little brother who would soon be growing into a kid and starting Kindergarten. I had friends and family who missed me. I had the option for in-state tuition.

Yes, moving home was the path of least resistance, and I guess there's nothing WRONG with that...but Vicki and Rick did their best to encourage me to stay. Rick made reference to me staying in Seattle "through the season." I took his words literally and thought he meant for me to stay through the winter season, but he continued by saying that each of our lives has its own seasons...its own time to develop and mature, to ebb and flow, and eventually come to an end. Rick knew my season in Seattle hadn't reached its peak. It had nothing to do with the changing of the leaves or the temperature outside, but my 19 year old brain couldn't grasp this concept. I dismissed his wisdom pretty quickly, and within a couple of weeks I was back home eatin' biscuits and drinkin' sweet tea. MMMmmmmm MMMMMmmm

Hearing this bald, musician, wool-sock-wearing granola man (I LOVE YOU, RICK!) tell me that my life had seasons that weren't weather seasons because they were abstract seasons, seasons of change, of emotions and experiences, well...it was crazy talk.

Thankfully, I grew up. I matured. I'm now very familiar with this concept of abstract emotional seasons. I even accept the fact that I might experience several different seasons at once, all with their own impact.

Sean and Murphy
Fall in Franklin

Murphy P. Carroll

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